I DOUBT ANY OF THEM ACTUALLY TRIED BUYING FOOD FOR THEMSELVES USING JUST $3 A DAY, $1 PER MEAL, BUT MAYBE SOMEONE IN THEIR OFFICES DID THE MATH AND THE RESEARCH FOR THEM, BECAUSE SEVERAL 'VOWED' TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF FOOD AID THAT NEEDY AMERICANS, INCLUDING MANY OF OUR MILITARY FAMILIES, VETERANS, CHILDREN, AND ELDERLY/DISABLED ARE ALLOTTED BY THE FEDERAL "SNAP" PROGRAM.
$84 USD PER MONTH WAS THE "AVERAGE" ALLOTMENT FOR AN INDIVIDUAL BACK IN 2008.
THAT ACTUALLY WORKS OUT TO LESS THAN $3 PER DAY, BUT WAS ROUNDED UP INSTEAD OF DOWN, AND SOME NEWS AGENCIES REPORTED, ERRONEOUSLY, THAT THE MONTHLY AMOUNT PER PERSON WAS A WHOPPING $155 PER MONTH, ABOUT $5 A DAY.
THAT THEY WERE PROVEN WRONG BY THE USDA DID NOT MEAN ARTICLE CORRECTIONS FOR MOST, SO THE MYTH CONTINUED THAT THE FOOD-NEEDY IN AMERICA HAD 'PLENTY TO LIVE ON'.
RIIIIGHT, EVER TRIED EATING 3 NUTRITIOUS, NON-JUNK MEALS A DAY FOR $5?
TRY IT...LEAVE A COMMENT...TELL US HOW YOU MANAGED IT.
OR, PERHAPS YOU ARE ONE OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO SEE THOSE ON "FOOD STAMPS" (LIKE OUR MILITARY, VETERANS, CHILDREN, ELDERLY, DISABLED, ETC) AS LAZY, DO-NOTHING MOOCHERS WHO DESERVE TO HAVE TO EAT CRAP ALL DAY, OR DO WITHOUT COMPLETELY...BECAUSE THEY JUST DON'T "TRY TO DO BETTER"?
IF ANYONE READING HERE IS ONE OF THE ABOVE CALLOUS, HEARTLESS, KNOW-NOTHINGS WHO HAVE NEVER BOTHERED TO RESEARCH HUNGER OR POVERTY IN AMERICA, PLEASE EXIT NOW...DON'T LET THE DOORKNOB HIT YOU IN YOUR BEHIND.
GO HAVE A GOOD WINE AND A NICE LOBSTER AND STEAK DINNER.
THOSE LEFT, WELCOME TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF SURVIVAL IN AMERICA....
MORE INFO THAN YOU MAY CARE TO HAVE CAN BE FOUND AT THE USDA WEBSITE
AFTER ALL, THEY ADMINISTER 'SNAP' AND DEFINITELY HAVE THE FACTS.
“Junk Food” & Luxury Items
"The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) defines eligible food as any food or food product for home consumption and also includes seeds and plants which produce food for consumption by SNAP households.
The Act precludes the following items from being purchased with SNAP benefits: alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hot food and any food sold for on-premises consumption.
Nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, medicines and vitamins, household supplies, grooming items, and cosmetics, also are ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.
- Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items
- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items
Since the current definition of food is a specific part of the Act, any change to this definition would require action by a member of Congress.
Several times in the history of SNAP, Congress had considered placing limits on the types of food that could be purchased with program benefits. However, they concluded that designating foods as luxury or non-nutritious would be administratively costly and burdensome.Report -- Implications of Restricting the use of Food Stamp Benefits
Further detailed information about the challenges of restricting the use of SNAP benefits can be found here:
Further detailed information about the challenges of restricting the use of SNAP benefits can be found here:
Listing of Eligible Food ItemsHow FNS Determines Product Eligibility for SNAP Purchase
IN 2013, A FEW DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMEN SWORE TO TAKE THE NEW "SNAP FOOD CHALLENGE".
( "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.")
NO REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN VOLUNTEERED.
THE NEW BUDGET WAS $31.50 PER WEEK PER PERSON FOR 3 MEALS A DAY, BUT I CAN'T FIND WHERE THEY CAME UP WITH THAT FIGURE...MAYBE THAT'S THE 'AVERAGE' IN THE WASHINGTON, DC AREA?
THAT'S A BIT OVER $4 PER DAY.
NOT ONE OF THE TWO DOZEN OR SO DEMOCRATS WHO TOOK THE CHALLENGE AND DOCUMENTED IT THOUGHT $4.50 PER DAY WAS ENOUGH.
Rep. Ted Deutch from Florida said,
“I’m really relying on the peanut butter,” Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) said.“Standing in line at the grocery store, it’s relatively few items in my cart, and calculating how much I think they’ll cost only to learn that I was off by a little bit, which necessitated putting back a couple of items and leaving with even less — it’s just really difficult to do once, I can only imagine how excruciatingly difficult it must be to that every single week.”
“It’s tricky. You know, I just got done having lunch and I’m hungry again,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said, after having a BOCA Burger and an orange for lunch.
But members are quick to point out they are participating in the challenge by choice, while representing individuals who don’t have one.
As the author of the KC Star article noted about fast foods and EBT:
"This was, of course, not only not allowable on food stamps but also not the way I want him to eat.
Besides, food stamp recipients do not have the same convenience foods available to them.
When you’re on food stamps you are not allowed to buy prepared items: no fast food, deli sandwiches — not even a rotisserie chicken.
Accepting food stamps forces you to cook.
[COOKING 3 MEALS EACH DAY ALSO RAISES HOME UTILITY BILLS.
THE TEA ROOM WOULD LIKE A SHOW OF HANDS...WHO COOKS 3 MEALS A DAY FROM SCRATCH, OR 2 MEALS A DAY OR 1 MEAL A DAY FOR THEMSELVES OR A FAMILY?
Daniela, 8, took a bit more convincing. She was willing to join in the challenge only if she could continue to buy school lunch.
She loves school lunch.
I’m not sure what that says about my cooking.
As a family, my husband, Otavio, and I talked with the kids over several dinners about the changes that would be necessary in our diet:
No more hormone-free local milk in a glass bottle.
No more artisan breads at nearly $3 a loaf.
No lunches out.
No pizza Friday night.
And, for the adults, no more wine with dinner.
[I'D LIKE TO KNOW WHERE SHE BUYS TRUE ARTISAN BREAD FOR JUST $3 A LOAF, WOULDN'T YOU?]
A refrigerator cook most nights of the week, I tend to open the door, look inside and begin to put together a meal from what we have on hand.
But with a budget of $129.50 per week — the maximum amount a family of four can receive on food stamps — I knew I would need to sit down and carefully plan out every meal.
[MOST MOMS, EVEN "FOOD STAMP MOMS" WORK AT LEAST ONE JOB, PLUS HAVE THE KIDS AND HOUSEHOLD TO TEND TO BEFORE AND AFTER WORK.
MANY "FOOD STAMP MOMS" USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, NOT HAVING A CAR OF THEIR OWN, SO ADD IN THE TIME IT TAKES TO GET TO AND FROM WORK.
HOW MANY MOMS OUT THERE WOULD HAVE TIME TO BOTH CAREFULLY PLAN THESE MEALS, SHOP FOR THEM, COOK THEM, ALL AROUND A VERY BUSY SCHEDULE?
SURE, EVERYONE PROBABLY COULD, BUT DO THE MAJORITY DO SO, THOSE NOT ON SUCH A TIGHT BUDGET?]
A few nights before starting the challenge and André was at trumpet lessons, Daniela and I sat in a nearby pizza parlor and went through the stack of recipes that Harvesters dietitian Stephanie Ziebert had shared with me after a class I attended with real-life food stamp recipients.
As I called out dishes, Daniela gave me a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. There were more yucks than yums, but by the end of the hour we had agreed on a week’s worth of meals.
With the menu planned, I divided the yellow legal paper into the sections of the store and made a list of ingredients I would need for the week.
Practically speaking, I wanted to shop close to my home, but I also wanted to shop at stores that were typical of the average food stamp recipient.
The vast majority of Harvesters clients shop at supermarkets, grocery stores or discount stores (90 percent), not convenience stores (2.8 percent) as some obesity experts had led me to believe.
Price clubs like Costco were out because of the fee required to join.
I chose to do most of my shopping at Aldi.
I had never shopped at Aldi before, but when I called Mark Bersted, vice president of the Olathe division, he was ready to fill me in on what I had been missing.
The German-based discount chain stocks 1,300 items, as opposed to the 40,000 stocked in a typical supermarket.
Bersted admits Aldi has a reputation as “the food stamp store,” but that image may be changing.
A home economist I work with told me at Christmas her foodie friends were buzzing about the store’s $35 French Champagne, which Aldi sold for $8.
Bersted says plenty of Aldi customers just like to save money.
I found nearly everything on my list at Aldi, but I was holding out for a whole chicken and some bakery bread.
After André’s tae kwon do class, we headed to Wal-Mart, where the majority of Americans are reported to shop.
I was surprised to find that all the chicken was precut into pieces, mostly boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Not wanting to head for yet another store at dinner time, I settled for six breasts.
By the end of the day I had spent three hours grocery shopping for a grand total of $99.23.
I was relieved: I did not have to put food back on the shelves like the governor of Oregon, who was followed by a camera crew.
The first meal was Thai Peanut Noodles, a tasty vegetarian dish.
Even though he is a big fan of peanut butter and eats it straight from the jar with a spoon, André immediately wanted to know where the meat was.
It was a refrain I heard throughout the week.
I made six chicken breasts last for three meals.
We had a vegetarian and a near-vegetarian pasta (Do slices of pepperoni count?) dish, but we also had salmon fillets and turkey burgers.
And in some ways the kids were eating a more kid-friendly diet than I usually serve. For instance, I always buy artisan-baked breads. But frequently they mold before we eat them.
Not surprisingly, André argued for spongy, no-nutrition white bread — the kind he really liked — by insisting that it was more typical of what a food stamp recipient might be able to afford.
But for a food writer, nutrition was not a totally negotiable point, even if money was tight.
We compromised on a honey-wheat loaf, which both kids wolfed down in record time. I picked up some whole-grain tortillas and whole-wheat pita pockets and ate them instead.
“See, don’t buy the kids the good bread,” Thrifty Soccer Mom told me when I saw her at our daughters’ soccer game.
From the get-go Thrifty Soccer Mom had been offering advice on how to get through the challenge.
This friend, who e-mails me when San Marzano tomatoes are on sale at Costco, routinely feeds her family of four for less than $129.50 a week.
She likes the challenge, she enjoys cooking and she likes saving money for home décor. She became an invaluable resource throughout the week as I began to feel stressed and lose focus.
My friend admits that not working outside the home makes it easier to shop and cook this way for her family.
On the nights when I stayed up cooking until 10:30 p.m. to have food ready for the dash between softball practice and dance class, I wondered how anyone who works a full-time job could actually pull off this kind of planning week after week.
By the end of the week we were running out of protein sources.
I think a dietitian would have said our meat intake was about right, more like a condiment than a main dish, but it was making André a wee bit cranky.
“Hey, I’m a carnivore. I can’t help it if I like meat,” he kept telling anyone who would listen.
It was time to spend the rest of our money, but I wasn’t thrilled about heading out to the supermarket for a third trip in one week.
Usually I make a list and send Otavio to the store, but that is always risky in terms of budget. If the sushi looks good, he’ll probably buy it.
By Sunday night’s dinner, I was in a mood to splurge.
We had wild salmon fillets, roasted potatoes, a gourmet bean salad made of leftover beans, spinach, green beans and cherry tomatoes and red onions in a vinaigrette, steamed broccoli and the pièce de résistance: strawberry shortcake.
[NOW, IF A REAL "FOOD STAMP RECIPIENT" WERE SEEN BUYING SUCH EXTRAVAGANT FARE, HOW MANY IN LINE BEHIND THAT PERSON WOULD ROLL THEIR EYES AND GO, "UMMM-HMMM, SEE THAT!"
BUT THIS WOMAN DID WHAT MANY MOMS WOULD PERHAPS LIKE TO DO AND "SPLURGED"...BECAUSE SHE WAS ONLY GOING TO LIVE LIKE THIS FOR ONE SHORT WEEK, NOT EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR.]
By now I had spent $123.54.
Tired but satisfied, I could see the home stretch, but I can only imagine what it feels like to run out of food before the end of the week.
And I hope I never have to worry that my kids are truly hungry.
A family friend invited us to a birthday dinner at a restaurant, but we declined because it was not in our food budget for the week and entertaining them in our home was out of the question.
It’s easy to see how people on food stamps might turn down social invitations such as a birthday party or a potluck because it may be difficult to reciprocate.
We passed up two school-related events that had an additional food cost involved, including a “family dinner” night at Daniela’s school.
Although I did not suffer hunger pangs, but I did feel light-headed one night during yoga.
The challenge felt like a diet.
I spent nearly every moment I was not at work thinking about or preparing food.
It was exhausting to shop three times in one week to get the best deals.
I feared I would run out of food.
I stayed on budget, but the entire family lost the freedom to choose what to eat and when.
MAKING ENDS MEET
The key to stretching your food dollars?
Make a plan and stick to it.
Plan a week’s worth of meals and snacks.
Gather recipes you will use for the week.
Make a menu that takes into consideration nutritional value, seasonal items and family preferences.
Check the weekly food ads for sale items and use any food you already have on hand.
Make a shopping list, and stick to it.
Organize your list by grouping items according to the sections in the grocery store.
Avoid shopping when you’re hungry, tired or rushed.
Leave the children at home, if possible.
Deviate from the list only when there is a better buy or unadvertised special that fits the meal plan."
[Source: Johnson County K-State Research and Extension]
WHILE NICE THOUGHTS, THE SECTION TITLED "MAKING ENDS MEET" IS SIMPLY NOT VERY REALISTIC FOR THOSE WHO STRUGGLE TO HOLD DOWN ONE OR TWO JOBS, HAVE SMALL CHILDREN, HAVE ZERO OR ALMOST ZERO TIME TO DO MUCH OF ANYTHING BUT WORK...AWAY FROM HOME AND IN THE HOME, CONSTANTLY.
MOST OF AMERICA'S 47% OF FOOD-NEEDY INDIVIDUALS ARE ALWAYS "HUNGRY, TIRED AND/OR RUSHED".
I APPRECIATE THE AUTHOR'S 'EXPERIMENT AND HER TAKE ON THIS ISSUE, BUT IT IS JUST NOT HOW AMERICANS WHO LIVE LIKE THIS EVERY DAY SEE THINGS, OR HOW THEY CAN COPE WITH THINGS.
NO TWO HOUSEHOLDS HAVE THE SAME, IDENTICAL SITUATIONS THEY MUST FACE EVERY DAY.
IN SINGLE-PARENT HOMES, THERE IS NO ONE TO SHARE THESE RESPONSIBILITIES WITH,, AND IF THAT SINGLE PARENT BECOMES TOO ILL TO DO ALL THESE THINGS, THEN WHAT?
ANOTHER EXAMPLE, ANYONE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, A BUS OR A COMMUTER TRAIN, A SUBWAY, OR A BREADWINNER WHO HAS TO WALK TO AND FROM ANYWHERE, WILL NOT BE ABLE TO LUG HOME A WEEK'S WORTH OF GROCERIES AT ONE TIME.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE HOUSEHOLDS WHERE MOM WORKS TWO JOBS?
WHAT ABOUT THE MOMS WHO HAVE TO TRUST OLDER SIBLINGS, TEENS, TO MAKE SURE THE YOUNGER ONES DON'T RAID THAT PANTRY?
DO ANY OF YOU HAVE THAT CONCERN?
IF, SAY, 'LITTLE JOHNNY' SNEAKS IN AND DOWNS AN ENTIRE QUART OF MILK, A QUARTER OF A JAR OF PEANUT BUTTER, HAS MORE THAN ONE SANDWICH AT A TIME, THEN THE REST OF THE FAMILY MUST DO WITHOUT.
WHAT A HELLUVA THING TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT, EVERY SINGLE MORSEL OF FOOD, YES?
WHAT'S REALLY AFFORDABLE ON 'SNAP'?
LOOK IN LOCAL GROCERY ADS, SEE HOW MUCH MEATS ARE PER POUND, THEN GO TO A COST PER SERVING CALCULATOR LIKE THE ONE AT
SEE HOW MUCH MEAT YOU COULD AFFORD ON THE $3 OR EVEN $5 PER DAY PLAN.
OR, USE THE STATS AT THE BUREAU OF STATISTICS WEBSITE TO FIND THE AMERICAN AVERAGE COST OF FOODS, MEATS.
FOR BEEF, THE CHEAPEST AND ALSO THE FATTIEST TYPE IS PLAIN GROUND BEEF, AND A POUND AT $3.99 IS SUPPOSED TO FEED 4 PEOPLE AT A COST OF $1 EACH..
THEY MUST NOT UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH FATTY MEATS SHRINK.
THEY MUST ALSO NOT UNDERSTAND FEEDLOT BEEF COMPARED TO PASTURE-GRAZED BEEF.
WHOLE CHICKEN IS CHEAP, RIGHT?
ONLY $1.48 PER POUND, BUT MAYBE A THIRD OF THAT WEIGHT IS BONE, ISN'T IT?
SURE, ONE CAN DE-BONE THE THING AND USE THE BONES AND TRIM TO MAKE A BROTH FOR SOUP.
REMOVE THE FATTY SKIN, MAYBE MAKE SCHMALTZ WITH THAT?
WHAT'S THE REAL WEIGHT OF NON-GREASY CHICKEN MEAT THEN?
BUT IF WE STICK TO A POUND FEEDS 4, THEN HOW MUCH ACTUAL MEAT IS EACH PERSON GETTING?
A LOAF OF PLAIN WHITE BREAD WAS GOING FOR $1.41 PER LOAF LAST MONTH.
A DOZEN EGGS IS $2.27 ON NATIONAL AVERAGE, BUT IS THAT DOZEN FROM CAGED, SHOT-FULL-OF-STEROIDS AND OVERFLOWING WITH ANTIBIOTICS CHICKENS OR FROM FREE-RANGE, HEALTHY ONES?
A GALLON OF PLAIN OLD MILK, NOT THE ORGANIC KIND, IS $3.23, BUT CERTAINLY NOT IN MY AREA WHERE ABOUT $4.29 IS THE NORM FOR THE JUNK THEY CALL MILK.
STRAY CATS WON'T DRINK IT...I ASSURE YOU.
(ACTUALLY, CATS NOR DOGS SHOULD BE GIVEN COW'S MILK, NOR HUMANS...THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEMS OF MOST ARE NOT EQUIPPED BY NATURE TO HANDLE COW'S MILK.
AS ABC REPORTED, 60% OF US HUMANS CAN'T DIGEST THAT MILK AT ALL!)
GOAT MILK IS FINE, BUT NOT AT OVER $4 PER QUART FOR A FAMILY THAT RELIES ON 'SNAP'?
FRESH TOMATOES, $2.31 PER POUND.
ABOUT 3 TO 4 TOMATOES IN A POUND THESE DAYS.
NOT EXACTLY A BARGAIN, IS IT, FOR MOSTLY 'HOT-HOUSE' TASTELESS THINGS NO ONE CAN CALL DELICIOUS, OR NUTRITIOUS.
WHAT ABOUT SPICES, CONDIMENTS, ANYTHING TO MAKE FOOD TASTE BETTER?
THOSE CAN BE 'PRICEY', AND OUT OF RANGE IF ONE IS COUNTING PENNIES ON A TIGHT FOOD BUDGET.
MOST WEBSITES SAY TO BUY MORE GRAINS, BEANS, PASTA, BUT WHAT ABOUT STARCH CONTENT?
CAN SEVERAL SERVINGS OF RICE OR PASTA REALLY BE GOOD FOR US EACH WEEK, IN A HEALTH PERSPECTIVE, TAKING WEIGHT GAIN INTO CONSIDERATION?
WHAT IF ONE OR MORE FAMILY MEMBER IS DIABETIC OR NEEDS OTHER SPECIAL DIETS FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS?
THE INFO I FOUND DIDN'T THINK SO, BUT SUGGESTED MORE FRUITS, NUTS AND VEGETABLES.
WHAT NUTS ARE CHEAP?
THE ONLY VEGETABLES CHEAP ENOUGH FOR A FAMILY OF 4 ON 'SNAP' ARE CANNED, SALTY, AND COOKED TO MUSH.
MAYBE BANANAS WOULD ALWAYS BE AFFORDABLE.
BUT WILL THE FAMILY WANT BANANAS ON A DAILY BASIS?
MAYBE YOU BEGIN TO SEE WHAT THOSE ON THE FEDERAL FOOD PROGRAM ARE UP AGAINST.
MAYBE YOU REALIZE IT REALLY SHOULD MATTER IF FELLOW AMERICANS, ESPECIALLY KIDS, THE ELDERLY, OUR VETERANS, THE DISABLED ARE GOING TO BED HUNGRY....BUT IT REALLY DOESN'T CAUSE YOU A SINGLE SLEEPLESS NIGHT.
WELL, IN THAT CASE, HOPE WITH ALL YOU HAVE THAT YOU ARE NEVER IN A SITUATION THAT REQUIRES YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES TO NEED FOOD ASSISTANCE.
FIRST, IT IS NOT EASY TO BE "APPROVED", AND SECONDLY, THE SOCIAL STIGMA ATTACHED TO SHOPPING WITH AN EBT/SNAP CARD IS HORRIFIC.
I'VE SEEN SUCH SHOPPERS CURSED, RIDICULED, BE CALLED VICIOUS NAMES, AND PUT UP WITH A HUGE LOAD OF CRAP AT CHECKOUT.
WHEN THEIR "NON-ALLOWABLE" PURCHASES HAVE TO BE CAREFULLY SORTED, THEN MAYBE THE SHOPPER HAS TO HAVE SOMETHING TAKEN OFF TO AFFORD THE REST, THE CHECKERS ANNOUNCE THAT TO THE WORLD, IT IS NOT SOMETHING WE'D WANT TO GO THROUGH, IS IT?
LONG AGO, I WAS AT MY SON'S SCHOOL IN THE EARLY DAYS OF HIS 1ST GRADE YEAR FOR ONE OF THOSE "PARENTS' DAY" LUNCHES, AND NOTICED THIS LITTLE GIRL HOLDING A STRAWBERRY, LOOKING AT IT FOR A LONG TIME BEFORE SHE ATE IT, THEN SHE BURST INTO TEARS!
I MOVED QUICKLY TO HER SIDE AND ASKED IF SHE WAS OKAY.
HER TEACHER AND ANOTHER ADULT RAN OVER AS WELL.
TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER FACE, SHE MANAGED TO ASK, "WHAT IS THIS?"
"IT'S JUST A STRAWBERRY, HONEY," WE ALL SAID IN ALMOST UNISON.
I ASKED QUICKLY, " ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO STRAWBERRIES?"
SHE GAVE ME A QUIZZICAL LOOK...
"WHAT IS ALLERGIC? I NEVER HAD ONE BEFORE. IT'S THE BEST THING I EVER ATE. DO THEY COST MUCH? WE'RE ON FOOD STAMPS," SHE SAID WITH THE INNOCENCE OF AN HONEST CHILD.
I THINK ALL THREE OF US ADULTS WERE TOUCHED BY THIS ONE INCIDENT... A CHILD WHO HAD NEVER HAD A STRAWBERRY AND WHO THOUGHT IT WAS THE BEST FOOD ON EARTH...BUT COULD HER FAMILY AFFORD THEM?
THESE ARE THE THINGS I OFTEN THINK OF...THE CHILDREN, MAINLY, GRANTED.
IT TEARS AT MY HEART TO THINK OF CHILDREN LIKE THAT LITTLE GIRL WHO HAVE TO WONDER IF THEY CAN AFFORD SOMETHING THAT TASTES AS WONDERFUL AS A STRAWBERRY, WHO HAVE NEVER EVEN TASTED ONE.
IF I COULD, I'D FEED THE WHOLE PLANET STRAWBERRIES AND OTHER THINGS MANY MAY NEVER BE ABLE TO AFFORD, BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST, I'D FEED EVERY CHILD WELL.
NEXT, I'D FEED ALL OUR ELDERLY WELL, AND OUR VETERANS, OUR DISABLED, OUR MILITARY FAMILIES AND OUR HOMELESS.
IN A PERFECT WORLD, ALL WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THE BEST FOODS AVAILABLE, BUT WE DON'T HAVE A PERFECT WORLD.
IN OUR NATION, SOME HAVE TO FEED FAMILIES ON $3 OR LESS PER PERSON PER DAY.
FOR OUR HOMELESS, MANY WHO ARE MILITARY VETERANS AND "THROW-AWAY CHILDREN/TEENS", PEOPLE RUNNING AWAY FROM DANGEROUS OR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS, MENTALLY CHALLENGED, AND THE SUDDENLY HOMELESS BECAUSE OF CATASTROPHE, ETC, IT SURE ISN'T LAZINESS THAT KEEPS THEM HUNGRY.
TRY THIS...PLEASE....GO FOR JUST 2 DAYS WITH ONLY WATER TO DRINK AND NO FOOD, NO FOOD AT ALL.
MAKE SURE YOUR DOCTOR AGREES TO IT, BY ALL MEANS.
AND DO TRY THE $3 FOOD CHALLENGE, PLEASE DO.
IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, I HOPE, IN HOW WE ALL SEE THOSE AMONG US WHO DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE EVERYDAY THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED, LIKE FOOD.
CAN ONE EAT HEALTHY, FILLING MEALS EVERY MEAL ON $3 A DAY?
NUTRITIONALLY SPEAKING, YES.
BUT THE PALATE DISAGREES THAT ALL MEALS ARE "GOOD".
FOR A GREATER INSIGHT INTO JUST HOW MUCH AMERICANS NEED IN EVERY STATE TO ATTAIN A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE, SEE THE MAP AT http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/budget-map/.
GIVE IT TIME TO LOAD PROPERLY, THEN CLICK ON ANY STATE FOR THE STATS AND WAIT WHILE THE MAP DISAPPEARS AND THE STATS COME UP.
CLICK "ZOOM OUT" TO BRING THE MAP BACK UP.
I'M SURE YOU'LL BE SURPRISED...I CERTAINLY WAS.
EVEN IN THE "DEEP SOUTH", IN OUR RURAL AREAS, WHERE ONE MIGHT ASSUME THE COST OF LIVING IS CHEAPER, A FAMILY NEEDS ABOUT $4,200 PER MONTH TO HAVE THE "SECURITY" OF KNOWING ALL BILLS WILL GET PAID, EVERYONE CAN GET MEDICAL ATTENTION WHEN NEEDED, THE FAMILY HAS A CAR, CAN SAVE A LITTLE FOR THEIR KIDS' COLLEGE EDUCATION, TAKE A FAMILY VACATION ONCE A YEAR, AND FOOD WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ALL FAMILY MEMBERS.
THIS IS BY NO MEANS AN "EXTRAVAGANT" LIFESTYLE...NO FRILLS, JUST THE BASICS... WHAT WE ONCE CALLED "THE AMERICAN DREAM"... A HOME, A CAR, HEALTH, A LITTLE PLAY TIME, AND COLLEGE FOR EVERYONE.
$4, 200 PER MONTH...
THAT'S OVER $1,000 PER WEEK.
IN THE UTICA, NEW YORK METRO AREA, THAT RISES TO OVER $6,900 PER MONTH, OVER $1,700 PER WEEK.
THE HIGHEST MINIMUM WAGE PAID ANYWHERE IN AMERICA IS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA... $11.50 PER HOUR.
FOR A 40-HOUR WEEK'S PAY, BEFORE ALL TAXES ARE TAKEN OUT, THAT'S ONLY
$460 A WEEK!
FOR TWO-EARNER FAMILIES, OR EVEN FAMILIES WHERE ONE ADULT MAY WORK TWO JOBS, THAT'S STILL ONLY $920 A WEEK.
WHERE CAN THEY LIVE "COMFORTABLY" WHO MAKE THAT LITTLE?
NOWHERE IN AMERICA!
GOVERNMENT STATS TELL US THAT THOSE AT OR BELOW POVERTY LEVEL, ALMOST HALF OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION, SPEND 60% OF THEIR WAGES ON JUST SHELTER AND FOOD.
THAT LEAVES 40% FOR ALL OTHER NECESSITIES...CLOTHING, TRANSPORTATION, UTILITIES, MEDICAL TREATMENT, DAYCARE, ETC.
BUT WHEN WE LOOK AT THE OTHER REALITY, THAT THOSE PEOPLE ARE NOT ENJOYING THAT "AVERAGE" AMERICAN LIFESTYLE WHERE AT LEAST $1,000 A MONTH IS NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN THE "AVERAGE", NOW WHAT?
EASY TO SAY WHEN WE ARE NOT IN THAT 47% AT OR BELOW POVERTY LEVEL.
BUT DON'T FEEL SAFE BECAUSE WE'RE NOT AS SAFE FROM POVERTY AS WE MAY THINK!
From SALON, JANUARY, 2014
"The gaps between the rich and poor are the widest they have been in a century, and the middle class is disappearing into the chasm.
According to research by economist Emmanuel Saez, the share of income that goes to the top 1 percent has more than doubled since 1964.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent has sucked up nearly all of the income gains in the first three years of the “recovery” — a stupifying 95 percent.
The fluidity of American society used to be taken for granted, but now the U.S. lags behind Europe in measurements of mobility.
Not only is the climb to middle-class stability increasingly steep, the fall into poverty is more likely.
When you include the low-income category, census data show that the number of economically distressed Americans jumps to 50 percent. Half of us!"
From the New York Times, JANUARY, 2015.
"MIDDLE CLASS: The definition here starts at $35,000 — which is about 50 percent higher than the official poverty level for a family of four — and ends at the six-figure mark. Although many Americans in households making more than $100,000 consider themselves middle class, particularly those living in expensive regions like the Northeast and Pacific Coast, they have substantially more money than most people."
THERE IS ALSO A MAP ON THE TIMES SITE THAT LETS YOU DETERMINE IF YOU ARE OR ARE NOT TRUE "MIDDLE CLASS".
BOTTOM LINE 'FORMULA' :
- INCOME REQUIRED TO BE IN THE:
TOP 1% = $383,001
TOP 5% = $188,001
TOP 10% = $140,001
TOP 25% - $89,125
TOP HALF = $50,742
BOTTOM 25% = $25,411
BOTTOM 10% - $12,154
ONE FALLS OUT OF THE 'MIDDLE CLASS' IF ONE EARNS LESS THAN THAT.
TROUBLE WITH THAT IS, ONE MUST EARN LESS THAN ABOUT $$18,498 (for a family of three) A YEAR TO GET ANY FEDERAL HELP.
AT JUST $20,000 A YEAR, AS WE HAVE SEEN, ONE CANNOT AFFORD TO LIVE AN 'AVERAGE' LIFE IN AMERICA...
THAT TAKES AT LEAST $50,000 A YEAR IN THE CHEAPEST RURAL AREA IN AMERICA.
THANKS FOR READING...HOPE YOU LEARNED SOMETHING NEW.
MAY YOU ALL HAVE ENOUGH OF EVERY NECESSARY THING TO LIVE WELL, WHEREVER YOU ARE.
More than a million men, women and children in JUST Kansas and Missouri receive SNAP (Food Stamps) assistance and each month they struggle to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with very limited resources.
To raise awareness, participants in the food challenge are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences with friends and family by writing a blog or posting to social media using #harvesterssnapchallenge.
For more information, go to Harvesters’ website.